Aiken Co. school leaders address recent resignations

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The Aiken County Board of Education released a “letter to the community” Wednesday night regarding the recent resignation of Superintendent Dr. Sean Alford.

Three board members resigned and one of them, Rosemary English, is now calling for an ethics investigation into the board.

The “letter to the community” reads:

Aiken County Community:

On behalf of Aiken County’s School Board, I would like to express our gratitude to the citizens of this community for your patience during these past few weeks. As previously shared, our school board and Aiken County’s former superintendent Dr. Sean Alford reached an amicable resolution and Dr. Alford resigned from his position effective September 13, 2019, to pursue other career opportunities. The Board appreciates and acknowledges his excellent leadership and performance during his time as superintendent of Aiken County Public Schools. 

As far as questions about allegations referenced in the media are concerned, I ask that you please refer to the comments from Dr. Alford’s attorney, Donald Gist, quoted in a September 15, 2019 article in the Post and Courier, “‘As to any allegations, they’re just that: allegations,’ Gist said.  ‘Dr. Alford will not, under any circumstances, address those allegations, and they had nothing to do with his personal decision to pursue other career endeavors.’”

This situation has been extremely difficult for our entire school community. We have heard from numerous stakeholders collectively at our last regularly scheduled school board meeting and individually in our respective communities. I cannot discuss or comment on whether or not there is or will be an Ethics Commission investigation, which would be, by law, confidential, but can state that our school board will continue to strive to maintain community trust worthy of your support. 

Aiken County School District Policy BCA, Board Member Code of Ethics, requires Board members to maintain confidentiality of matters discussed in executive session.  Because of this Policy requirement, the current Board has not and will not deviate from this requirement.  The Board has sought and followed the advice of legal counsel regarding the issues before the Board and will continue to do so, but cannot disclose confidential legal advice provided by the District’s legal counsel.

As we move forward, please know that students are our focus and that we are committed to continuing programs that have contributed to their success. We have selected King Laurence to serve as interim superintendent. He has an educational career spanning three decades and is deeply rooted in the community, having served our district for the last 22 years. Our team of administrators and teachers are dedicated to the safety and success of our students.

Public education is important and community involvement in our school system is vital to the success our students, teachers and district are enjoying. Thank you, again, for your understanding of the confidentiality of these matters and for your continued support of our students, teachers and staff.

Keith Liner, Chairman

Aiken County School Board

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